Tumeliso [II]

tumeliso (salutations)


choir SATB
Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa Critical Edition

Mohapeloa wrote ‘Tumeliso’ in the 1940s, publishing it in Morija in 1947 as the 14th of 28 songs in Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika ka J.P. Mohapeloa: Buka ea Boraro (African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations by J.P. Mohapeloa: Book III). Mohapeloa had already written another song called Tumeliso (JPM017) in Meloli I (1935), which has a different text and whose title is translated in this edition as ‘Greetings’. Both are fairly straightforward greeting songs, but while JPM017 is about ‘enjoying life while one can’ and has a youthful ring, JPM078 is more serious and formal, as if a group of elders – men ‘from long ago’ as the text puts it – were meeting, and younger men ‘from not so long ago’ were being welcomed by them. The narrator has the tone of an authority figure, especially when he says, ‘cock your ear and listen to the wise’. It was the custom in Lesotho traditional life for men to meet to discuss important matters at a meeting called a ‘legotla’ (court), and this song reflects that custom.